Not your typical car purchase

ImageThis is what Dan Patrick refers to as “against the grain.”

I bought a new car this week. And with gas prices hovering right at $4 (but not over), and gas prices seemingly creeping onward and upward for the past few years, you would think that I bought one of the most sub-compact compact cars the market has.

No, I didn’t.

Rather, I bought a 2002 Ford Explorer Sport Trac. Four doors. SUV/truck.

It’s exactly what some people in this country are asking us not to buy.

I could have caved in. I could have bought that sub compact because I want to save the little money that I have. So I can do what?

But gas mileage never factor into the equation when I bought my new truck. Practicality did. And that’s where the president’s line of thinking, let alone those who believe he does, fails.

I work nights in a cold weather state. It’s a state where it snows and sometimes, those plows just don’t clear off the roads quick enough. An SUV or a truck with four-wheel drive suddenly became a necessity.

Front-wheel drive is fine, but the low clearance on such cars does nothing.

The move to a truck also was brought about because I believed that when I went on a cross-state or even cross-country trip, our tiny Chevy Aveo would not be able to handle it. It barely did for six years.

Six times, we took the Aveo from Wisconsin to Michigan and back again for a week’s vacation to visit family. It was loaded up with clothes, a few things for the kids to do and maybe some pillows. That was for the ride there. And then we would be showered with stuff that people wanted to give us, nevermind we didn’t have the room in the first place.

We tried to go camping with the Aveo, too. A weeklong camping trip was shortened to four days because we didn’t have the money. Once we did, we couldn’t haul all of the food we needed anyway.

With a truck, I can do that. I can take the kids camping, with their bikes, where ever the road takes us.

I don’t plan to complain or whine about the gas prices. Because I chose to buy a large vehicle, one that I’ve wanted for a while, I essentially will be shamed into forfeiting those complaints.

Not only did I know I want a truck, I also knew I wanted a Ford. The government bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler didn’t sit well with me. I’ve long thought bankruptcy is there for a reason. It can be bad. And it can be good, depending upon the end result once that process is complete.

And, based on the performance of our Chevy Aveo, I knew a small car from General Motors couldn’t handle the pounding a car should be able to take. The Aveo is by far one of the worst cars in terms of durability that I’ve ever seen. The old Sunbird took more of a beating than the Aveo and it still kept going.

The Aveo is one of the worst investments I’ve ever made.

And that’s another crux to this gas crisis we’re in. We’re being told to move toward smaller, cheaper cars or flexfuel cars or electric cars or hybrid cars. But those cheaper cars are just that, cheaper. Cheaper built with cheaper parts. They’re throwaway cars.

Americans want real value. I want real value. And durability. And dependability.

And the ability to take my family – a lower middle class family – out for one of those great American road trips or to a ballgame or on a camping trip.

Buying my new truck, in these economic times, is definitely against the grain. I built a mountain, though, on the grains of practicality of what this new truck means to me and my family.

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